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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Greece Series at GreekPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Greek holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 16. Greek Revolution Day. In Greek, this day is called [25η Μαρτίου].
March 25 is an important day for all Greeks in Greece to celebrate the Greek Revolution, or [Ελληνική Επανάσταση] of 1821 against the Ottoman Empire. This revolution brought about the nation’s much desired independence after approximately 400 years of Turkish yoke, which began with the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
In this lesson, you will learn about the history and how Greek people honor this day.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Besides the Greek Revolution, what else do Greeks celebrate on March 25th?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
March 25 has been designated the commencement day of the Greek Revolution of 1821. The revolution or [επανάσταση], was organized by a secret society called [Φιλική Εταιρεία], which means “the Society of Friends”. The Age of Enlightenment, which includes the French Revolution and the flourishing of the economy and education of Greeks, prepared the ground in order to throw off the Turkish yoke. During the revolution, the Philhellenic movement or in Greek [κίνημα του Φιλελληνισμού] was created, which sensitized the Great Powers of Europe. After a series of international treaties, Greek independence was recognized in 1830.
Today, March 25 is a public holiday, so schools remain closed. But on the immediate working day preceding it, schools are decorated with Greek flags, or [ελληνικές σημαίες], and bay leaves, which symbolize victory. Victory in Greek is [νίκη]. Students, with the help of teachers, organize a range of events, including speeches, patriotic songs and school plays, which revive various scenes of the revolution. A popular patriotic hymn called [Θούριος] that is often sung was written by [Ρήγας Φεραίος] in 1797 to stir up the Greeks. The slogan of the revolution was [Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος], which means "Freedom or Death", and is also always mentioned in these events.
The Greek flag has nine blue and white stripes of equal thickness, which symbolize the nine syllables of Freedom or Death, or in Greek [Ε-λευ-θε-ρί-α ή Θά-να-τος], as well as the nine letters of the Greek word for freedom. The cross or [σταυρός] symbolizes the official denomination, which is Christianity. On March 25, people will decorate their balconies with the Greek flag. It is also a great honor for someone to be a standard-bearer in a parade. In Athens, a large military parade or [στρατιωτική παρέλαση] takes place that gets broadcast, while in other places there are student parades with the participation of scouts, military units, and cultural associations. The members of the associations are usually dressed in traditional apparel.
In parades, mainly among young people, it's pretty much a custom to throw roasted chickpeas or [στραγάλια] to those parading, in order to show enthusiasm. Even though such a thing is not generally acceptable, because it may cause injuries, throwing roasted chickpeas usually causes laughter.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Besides the Greek Revolution, what else do Greeks celebrate on March 25?
Greek people also celebrate the Annunciation or [Ευαγγελισμός της Θεοτόκου] which is a religious holiday that we’re going to introduce in another lesson of this series. The dismissal hymn of the Annunciation or [απολυτίκιο του Ευαγγελισμού] and the well-known hymn called [Τῆ Ὺπερμάχῳ], meaning “Unto the Defender,” are popular hymns which celebrate the Virgin Mary and are chanted during the events of March 25.
How did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Have you ever watched the parade of March 25, either live or on TV?
Leave us your comments on GreekPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson.